• Professor Grace Sarra
  • ACODA Co-Lead and Chief Investigator
  • QUT

Professor Grace Sarra is an academic and researcher at Queensland University of Technology. She is of Aboriginal heritage (Bindal and Birriah clans of the Birrigubba nation) and Torres Strait Islander heritage (Mauar, Stephen and Murray Islands). She has more than 30 years of experience in teaching and leadership roles in schools and universities. Her research is in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, early childhood, inclusive education, Indigenous young people and low socio-economic young people incarcerated in youth detention centres.

Grace’s research projects are grounded in the belief that changing a curriculum will not improve learning unless accompanied by a whole-of-school program to challenge attendance and behaviour, encourage pride and self-belief, instil high expectations, and build local leadership and community involvement. Grace’s distinctive contribution as an Indigenous researcher has been in utilising Indigenous knowledge and frameworks with theoretical frameworks to contest prevailing assumptions and stereotypes that contribute to Indigenous students’ lack of success in schools.

Her work in the Centre will focus on new, innovative process-orientated methods based on Indigenous research paradigms to enable the inclusion of a range of diverse Indigenous voices in co- design programs in social and emotional wellbeing. This will assist in the development of digital teaching resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the early years that describe representations for their physical/social/emotional/spiritual well-being. In addition, research that focuses on Indigenous language revitalisation and technology in early years centres in Indigenous communities using digital technologies/storytelling to support curriculum and cultural learning for all students.

Grace’s vision is that research in the Centre would include using the concept of co-design within projects which are expected to generate new knowledges that will directly benefit Indigenous people, early years centres and kindergartens, schools and policy makers. She hopes that the Centre’s projects will address the critical social justice issues of Indigenous education inequalities through investigating best practices using culturally responsive pedagogies to inform education and policy development.